Happy Birthday to Little Jody Rainwater

WSVS AM 800Charles Johnson is better known to bluegrass fans as Little Jody Rainwater, bass player with bluegrass legends Flatt & Scruggs during the early 1950s.

Today is Jody’s 89th birthday, and the radio station that he called home after departing from the band, WSVS, is celebrating.

Beginning at 2:45 PM this afternoon, WSVS, AM 800, in Crewe, Virginia, will be airing a special birthday broadcast in Jody’s honor. The show will run till 4 PM.

I spoke with Chris Gowin, the station manager at WSVS, and he told me they will be recording the program and will re-air it sometime in the next few weeks, immediately after their internet stream becomes active.

Here’s some background information on Jody’s association with the station, from the WSVS website.

In the early 1950s Charles Johnson, otherwise known as Little Jody Rainwater, was the promoter and bassist in the bluegrass group Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys. When Jody (as he was known to all) decided to leave the Foggy Mountain Boys and settle down, he chose WSVS and Crewe as his home. Jody’s programming became extremely popular with the listeners and Jody’s ongoing support of the bluegrass movement endeared listeners to him.

In early 1954, Flatt and Scruggs, then sponsored by Martha White Mills, decided to change location. They moved from Nashville, TN where they performed on WSM’s daily, early-morning broadcast, to WSVS in Crewe. Starting daily in May of 1954 until January of 1955, the Foggy Mountain Boys played a daily show on WSVS from the studios on Melody Lane.